The question is often asked, what do you think it’s like on the other side. Or do you think there is another side. Is there life after death? This is not an uncommon question asked today, especially as one stands by the bed of a loved one who is about to pass away. In our society today, there are many answers to that question. Here are a few:
1. There is no life after death. Life on this earth is all there is, so make the most of this life.
2. I don’t know if there is life after death. No one has returned to tell us.
3. I hope so.
4. Of course there is life on the other side! God will take care of all his children. No one is lost.
5. The Bible tells us there is a life on the other side for all who confess Christ as Savior and Lord.
The Old Testament teaches that there is life after death. In Psalm 73:24 we read, “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”
The much-loved Psalm 23 closes with these words: “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
One of the basic messages of the New Testament is that Christ came into this world to be our Savior and Lord and to bring all those who believe in him into the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus spoke these words to the thief on the cross: “Today you will be with me in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The Christmas message tells of God coming to this world in the person of Jesus Christ as the God-man. Jesus came to forgive sins and to promise a place in the Kingdom of God to those who receive him as Savior and Lord.
When Jesus proclaimed in Nazareth that he was the Messiah and the Savior of the world, the Jews wanted to kill him. He came to build his kingdom, but his people refused to accept Jesus as true God and true man. He was not the kind of Messiah they were expecting.
Early in his ministry, Jesus selected twelve disciples who would be the men to bring the good news of Christ to their world. They would be commissioned to go and make disciples of all the nations by baptizing and teaching this gospel to the far corners of the world. In order that they could perform this mighty task, they had to be convinced that Jesus was God.
As a part of their training, Jesus took Peter, James and John with him to a high mountain where they were all alone. Jesus was then transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared before them, talking with Jesus. Peter, frightened and at a loss for words, said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters Ð one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, a voice came from the cloud saying, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, but wondered what “risen from the dead” meant.
One could ask the purpose for the transfiguration.
For Jesus, it could have been a break to remind him that the Father was with him. He had experienced difficult days, and the cross was before him. Having had that peek into heaven could have been a reminder that he was about his Father’s business.
For the disciples, it could have been preparation for the suffering and martyrdom they were to face. In his second letter, Peter reveals where he found comfort and strength to move on as a spokesman for Jesus. He writes, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ÔThis is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain” (2 Peter 1:16-18).
For those of us who trust Christ as Savior and Lord . . . The Holy Spirit reveals to us through the Bible who Christ is and what he has called us to do. Like the robber on the cross, we hear Jesus’ voice saying, “You will be with me in paradise.”
Is there life on the other side? This is God’s answer, and it is revealed to us in Holy Scripture, which is our authority. Others have another answer revealing uncertainty about life after death. Whose voice do you believe?